Against Child Trafficking (ACT), an organisation working to stop inter-country adoption, has started a crowdfunding campaign to help Wazulu.

How you can help Wazulu Indian adoptee deported from US forced to live on the streets
news Human rights Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 18:30

On February 14, TNM reported about Wazulu, an Indian man who was adopted by a US couple when he was 12 and was deported to India without an explanation and without any documents. Forced to leave his comfortable life as an upcoming musician in Portland, Oregon, the 42-year-old has been living on the streets of India, hand to mouth, with no ID for the past nine years.

Only recently has Wazulu gotten hold of some documents – his birth certificate, his biological parents’ death certificates, his adoption decree – after years of running after Holt International Adoption Agency, which had facilitated his adoption in 1989. However, with almost no resources, no permanent address and no money, getting identification documents now remains a struggle – but you can help make things a little easier for him.

Against Child Trafficking (ACT), an organisation working to stop inter-country adoption, has started a crowdfunding campaign to help Wazulu raise $10,000 (Rs 7.10 lakh). Half of this amount will fund Wazulu’s daily expenses – something that he is in dire need of. The other half will be used to cover fees for bureaucratic processes like getting his passport. It will be also be used to cover legal fees, court case costs if necessary, travel to Delhi and Bengaluru, where Wazulu is currently based, boarding and lodging and other miscellaneous campaign expenses.

While ACT says that it is possible for Wazulu to get his passport back as it was valid till 2017, it will be difficult.

“The bureaucracy in India will make this process difficult and with no residential address or any original documents […] Initially we will travel to Bengaluru and Delhi together to meet officials from the adoption agencies and government departments and try to find any original documents that may still exist. Many officials find this story difficult to believe,” ACT adds on the GoFundMe campaign page.

Also read: Adopted child, deported adult: The ‘American’ living in India without an ID for 9 yrs

Wazulu’s story is not a one-off case. Thousands of adoptees in the US have suffered similar fates, especially since 2001 when the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) took effect in the US. While recognising that citizenship rights should be conferred on children adopted from overseas by Americans automatically, the Act left out adoptees born before February 21, 1983 (those over 18 years in 2001) and those without Permanent Resident Status.

The adoptive parents of these children would have needed to naturalise their children if they were below 18 in 2001, or the adoptees would have needed to be told to do the formalities for the same if they were over 18. However, this does not happen in many cases due to lack of awareness, improper documentation and so on.

Most of these adoptees are from third world countries and were taken to the US when they are children and had no say in the matter. They grow up American for all practical purposes, until one day they are told that they do not have the documentation to continue living in the US. They are uprooted, deported, sent back to their country of origin, which is all but an alien land to them by this point.

Wazulu still does not know if this was the reason that he was deported in 2010 or if it was something else. However, you can play a part in helping him get his life back together by contributing to his GoFundMe campaign here.

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